Happy Spring! This time of year many people start thinking about buying and/or selling property. Here are some things for you to consider as you begin the process.
The Purchase and Sales Contract
Oral contracts for the sale of property are not enforceable, so it is important to have all of the details of the sale in writing. For instance, you should specify what items are considered fixtures that will be sold with the house and whether there is anything excluded that the seller will take with them. Some items, such as chandeliers, seem to be part of the house, but the seller may plan on moving some of these things with them. Other important items to include are who is responsible for closing costs and if there is a certain date that the closing needs to happen by. Purchase and sale contracts can be customized for your individual circumstances.
How to Take Title in the Property
Buyers should be aware that they have options for taking title to property. An individual buyer will likely take title as the sole owner. When there are two or more buyers, there are two options. Buyers can take title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, which provides for an owner’s interest in the property to automatically pass to the other owner(s) when he or she dies. Alternatively, purchasers can elect to take title as tenants in common, which provides each buyer of the property with a distinct interest in the property that can be passed to an heir upon death. Buyers can also opt to place title in a trust. Trusts can provide the buyers with privacy and protection from liability.
Defects in the House or Property
Sellers are required to disclose any “material” facts that could impact a buyer’s decision to purchase a property. Material facts usually include physical, regulatory, mechanical, or on-site environmental issues. New Hampshire also has requirements for specific disclosures about radon, lead paint, and compliance with underground storage tanks laws, if there is one on the property.
Easements Can Impact the Value of Your Land
An easement provides a third-party, such as a neighbor or municipality, rights to use all or part of the property for a specific purpose. For example, neighbors could have agreed to share a driveway that runs across only one of their properties through an easement. Buyers need to know if a third-party will retain rights to the land they will purchase. An easement could restrict their ability to make changes to the land, such as putting an addition on a home or installing a swimming pool. Buyers should also find out who is responsible for maintaining the easement, as the ongoing maintenance could be an extra cost of owning the property. Sellers should consider whether easements could affect the value of the property. There are options for altering easements.
The attorneys at Kalil & LaCount are here to assist you with buying or selling real estate. We handle a wide variety of commercial and residential real estate transactions and can help you navigate these and other issues that may arise.